Should I study more?


Hi all! I want a piece of advice about the employment/schooling

I have studied for 8 years:

4 y bachelor's + 2 y specialist in Russia + 2 y March in a low-tier school in the US.

I could not choose my US school (my sponsor did), and I found out it is really poorly regarded. I am now working in Europe, and I struggle to compete with people from European or better American schools. Maybe I truly lack skills too.

I wonder if I should kind of start anew and apply for another MArch or maybe a PhD so that it overrides my previous educational experience. It sounds stupid, but it is hard to land an exciting job with a poor resume and many internships that happened during or right after my MArch schooling. I am now full-time employed, and it is very boring and disappointing - no room for growth and a lot of repetition.

What do you think about it?

Jun 18, 20 4:23 am
Non Sequitur

more school is not the answer.

Jun 18, 20 6:43 am  · 
2  · 

A PhD or other doctoral degree only makes sense if you are adamant about entering an academic career doing teaching and research. Even with one of those degrees, and even if you check all of the right boxes, academic jobs are extremely competitive. You sound like you’re more interested in working in architectural firms, so you should instead consider a post-professional Masters degree. I don’t think that it would make sense to get a second M.Arch., however. You wouldn’t be learning anything substantially new or building up your resumé. Thus, if I were you, I would narrow my search to other Masters degrees: Master of Science, Master of Science in Architectural Studies, Master of Design, etc. Those degree programs in architecture schools tend to have their students choose a specific topic so that the students can hone their expertise in that subject. You could focus on new building materials, for example, or robotics applied to architecture, or sustainable architecture... Be very wary, though. Some of those programs serve as glorified money-making machines for the schools and don’t actually offer their students much. Of course, if you do enroll in a post-professional Masters program, make sure that you would graduate without crippling student loans. I would only do one of these programs if they were reputable plus highly affordable. In other words, you’d need some combination of scholarships and financial aid or some rich family member to pay for you.

Jun 18, 20 9:23 am  · 
1  · 

As someone who hates school, loathes anything related to studying, no I do not recommend you to study more. I don't know what your study habits are, but (for me of course they're nonexistent) I believe your educational background is enough. If you're so keen to learn something you don't need to enroll for actual uni classes, you just have to take advantage of the internet, a vast resource of info. That's the case for me since I have terrible attention span in a classroom setting.

Jun 19, 20 4:24 am  · 

What is your definition of an "exciting job"?

Jun 19, 20 7:51 am  · 

Thank you for the replies!

I indeed is not too interested in academic career. However, I love to teach, and academic engagement could give me a part-time teaching opportunity for personal joy and satisfaction:)

However, I am much more interested in pursuing career in practice and opening my own firm eventually.

@randomised, I am not diving into that rabbit hole. But generally, a job in a small office with a diverse and wide range of responsibilities and designs that I am not too ashamed to share - something like that would be nice...

I know just studying is not a panacea, but I feel that my resume is too blemished to give me a good career chances.

Jun 19, 20 8:02 am  · 
1  · 

A good school on your CV gets your foot in the door.  After that, you build your professional reputation.  If you don't have a good school on your CV, that's ok.  Work on getting in a firm where there may be room for growth, and show your worth.  Stick with it for a year or two and then if you don't like it, look for a new job in a firm like you are imagining.  Not every job is going to be your dream job.

Jun 19, 20 9:43 am  · 

@thatsthat, yeah, I agree. I already worked for around 4-5 years, but only 2 years in one firm, and then it were several rounds of internships / post-graduation employments in 4 different countries. Hard to establish a solid career when you're all over, and before I start anew in a new firm I thought that maybe I should learn more and pump up the resume a bit so that the next job would be worth settling down for at least several years.

Jun 19, 20 10:25 am  · 

In my experience, get a management degree or something in economics or development in architecture, if you wish to still pursue something. As you explained, I feel otherwise for continuing education.

Think of it from an employers perspective, if they have an overqualified architect deep down in romance with theory and high end skills which in reality clients and projects don't need that much, they would rather prefer a seasoned architect with BD or economic experience which will help them extend their business further or gain confidence in you to lead projects as you would have better sense of how business functions.

I see plenty of schools popping up offering business degrees in architecture now a days. Maybe be you could be a part of the this new trendsetting...

Jun 19, 20 6:34 pm  · 

A lot of terrible students turn out to be really good architects. Hang in there and learn the real profession, which is seldom taught in schools.

A lot of architects who were really good at academics really do not shine in the profession, stuck at dead end corporate jobs. I speak for a friend :(

Jun 19, 20 11:12 pm  · 
3  · 

I would suggest looking up courses that you can do for short periods of time. It will help you develop new skills without actually going back to being a student. 

Can how did you get sponsorship to the us?? Is sponsorship the same as a scholarship? I am lebanese and i need to find a scholarship abroad. 

Jun 20, 20 5:14 pm  · 
1  · 

@architectCraze, I think that skills are not as much valued as respectable names on the resume, unless a job requires a very unique skillset, like urban big data analysis or whatnot. I am always into continuous education, but none of my potential employers were interested in that. They are more worried about the knowledge of building coded and proficiency in their preferred BIM software.

A scholarship is basically a sponsorship. Try checking Fulbright, it might me available in your country. There might be other options too. I also know some cases in which companies paid school expenses so that the graduates work for them after, but that's rare in architecture.

Jun 21, 20 5:09 am  · 

How's your portfolio look though? 

Going back to school won't fix you if you're just bad at design. You'd be better off in most cases just working for the 2 extra years and polishing your portfolio/building real experience. 

Schools are not as big of a qualifying factor as people make them out to be. If your work is good but you went to a mediocre school, it's better than having bad work from a good school. It's just not as likely as the other way around. 

Jun 22, 20 3:59 pm  · 
1  · 

Yeah you might be right... Maybe I should participate in more competitions. Maybe of I win a couple of times,.it would be enough of portfolio pumping.

I do not think I am terrible in design, but I still need a lot of improvement. The problem is that at work I don't learn/explore  and mainly working on technical stuff, and on my own I can improve only that much.

Jun 22, 20 4:57 pm  · 

Going back to uni without a clear intent is a bad idea. I would recommend that you identify what interests you about the profession / discipline, what do you think it's lacking etc.

I meet with 3 other architects my age (we're all only 4 years out of school) and discuss different readings, ideas, and papers every month. We ended up started a research group and we've started winning small competitions and we are now beginning to receive funding for research.

I remember listening to Sergison and Bates saying they did something similar to this when they were younger and they produced a series of papers which I believe can now be bought online somewhere.

So you're looking for an outlet, an opportunity to think about architecture in a meaningful way. Don't go back to college, not yet at least. Meet with some like minded people and discuss ideas, eventually maybe finding a way to employ them into some sort of action or project.

1  · 

Thank you for sharing! That is very inspiring:)


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